By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Norton legislator Temba Mliswa has expressed his delight in leaving Zanu PF saying that he was arrested many times in the ruling party on false charges before he decided to be independent.
Mliswa described as “emotional” the difficult time he went through when former police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri sent his subordinates to arrest him 70 times on false charges.
Speaking at a press conference in Harare last week, the former Zanu PF Mashonaland West chairperson, said Chihuri was sent several times by Paul Westwood, the former owner of a Karoi farm that Mliswa occupied at the height of the controversial government-backed land reform programme to arrest him.
“One of the worst times of my life was being accused by Chihuri of corruption. He was then working with Paul Westwood and I was arrested over 70 times.
“It is one of the saddest moments of my life, sometimes I cry but God…It was one of the most emotional moments of my life.
“One day I will talk about it, it is my most emotional part that people asked me why I was still in Zanu PF. I was arrested more times in Zanu PF than outside Zanu PF. When I left Zanu PF, I was never arrested,” the outspoken politician said.
“Chihuri was the toughest police officer then, he had officers and magistrates to ensure that if I intended to corrupt anyone I will not. He instilled fear in them.
“My arrest of having stolen cattle is well known and the whites came to the courts and said Temba paid for the cows, that was just persecution by Chihuri.
“I was said to have beaten (Sarah) Mahoka, arrested and was acquitted. I was arrested that I had AK47s (rifles) at my farm, but again, I was acquitted,” Mliswa added.
Mliswa accused Chihuri who was police boss until late former President Robert Mugabe was toppled in 2017 of being bribed by Westwood to make sure he visits the courts several times for false allegations.
“I used to be moved from one police station to the other, one court to the other, in the middle of the night I would be shackled and the next thing I am taken to Marimba.
“It is the most emotional part of my life which I have never told anyone because of this white man who bribed Chihuri so they could get cars from that company.”
In June 2011 Mliswa was acquitted on charges of trying to forcibly wrestle Noshio Investments, a million-dollar vehicle accessories company owned by Westwood.
In an exclusive interview with Nehanda Radio, Westwood alleged that Mliswa bribed the presiding magistrate Never Katiyo who suddenly acquired a US$12 000 car while on a US$200 a month salary.
He also alleged then Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa played a key role in the acquittal of Mliswa and his co-accused Hammarskjold Banda, Brendaly Banda, Alfred Mwatiwamba, George Marere and Martin Mutasa (Mutasa’s son).
Mliswa was expelled in 2015 from the ruling party on various charges, including undermining the party and its leadership.
Chihuri is reportedly in self-imposed exile in Malawi where he was accused of rigging its recent harmonised election. He was replaced by Godwin Matanga. Nehanda Radio